Sebastião Salgado

Sebastião Salgado

Photographing the Pristine

Meet the acclaimed Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado in this interview about his project ‘Genesis’ - a photographic homage to our planet in its natural state, dedicated to capturing the beauty of our planet and preserving it for the future.

“I really believe that we must deal with things in a different way, we must create another model of life.” Salgado’s photography is about what he believes: that humanity should rediscover itself in the nature of our planet, and that we should reverse the damage done to it. Humans have changed the planet without understanding our place on it: “We don’t understand the life on our planet.” The idea of the exhibition is to show us the forgotten people and places of the world, that we are in risk of losing: “My wish is that you come to see a small sample of the planet, just a 100-150 pictures of what is pristine.”

Genesis is the result of an epic eight-year expedition to rediscover the mountains, deserts and oceans, the animals and peoples that have escaped the imprint of modern society thus far – the land and life of a still pristine planet. The idea for ‘Genesis’ began with Salgado becoming very ill after making the project ‘Migration’ and experiencing the horrific violence in Rwanda. In an attempt to recover he returned to his childhood home, a farm in Brazil surrounded by a vast landscape covered with rain forest and full of incredible beauty. From the time when Salgado was a child to the time he took over the farm as an adult, Brazil had, along with the rest of the world, been destroying the environment in a most brutal way. When they took over the farm, Salgado’s wife got the ”crazy idea” that they should replant the rain forest. And as they did so, the birds, animals and water began to reappear.

Sebastião Salgado (b.1944) is a Brazilian social documentary photographer and photojournalist. Salgado initially trained as an economist and worked for the International Coffee Organization, often traveling to Africa on missions for the World Bank, when he first started taking photographs. He switched to photography in 1973, working initially on news assignments before veering towards documentary-type work.

Salgado was part of the international cooperative of photographers Magnum Photos between 1979 and 1994, after which formed his own agency, Amazonas Images, in Paris, to represent his work.

 Salgado has travelled in over 100 countries for his photographic projects, which have been presented in books such as 'Other Americas' (1986), 'Sahel: l’homme en détresse' (1986), 'Sahel: el fin del camino' (1988), 'Workers' (1993), 'Terra' (1997), 'Migrations and Portraits' (2000) and 'Africa' (2007). Salgado has won numerous awards, amongst others The Royal Photographic Society's Centenary Medal and Honorary Fellowship (HonFRPS). Moreover, he is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Between 2004 and 2011, Salgado worked on the project 'Genesis', aiming at the presentation of the unblemished faces of nature and humanity. It consists of a series of photographs of landscapes and wildlife, as well as of human communities that continue to live in accordance with their ancestral traditions and cultures.

Sebastião Salgado was interviewed in his studio in Paris by Marc-Christoph Wagner in 2013.

Camera: Germain Ferey
Edited by: Kamilla Bruus
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Bunny Rogers

    Mourning Youth

    “You can’t make objective art, it’s going to be subjective.” Watch the praised artist Bunny Rogers (b. 1990) talk about creating autobiographical work that draws from memory and deals with her childhood by archiving her feelings from that time.

  • Ed Atkins

    Something is Missing

    Ed Atkins is considered one of the most unsettling contemporary artists – as well as one of the most exciting. In this video, the young British artist shares how he works from written texts, and why melancholy is at the centre of his animated digital videos.

  • Louisa Gagliardi

    Longing for Something Else

    “Art is amazing because it’s in a way unnecessary, but extremely necessary as a testimony of its time.” Let us introduce you to a rising star of painting, Louisa Gagliardi, who creates her surreal work digitally and adds layers of paint to the printed image.

  • Hannah Levy

    A Design Purgatory

    “I wonder if the reason why people want to touch it is that they’re in some way attracted to it, or if they’re repulsed by it.” Meet the young artist Hannah Levy, who primarily makes sculptures combining curving steel forms with cast silicone.

  • Dora Budor

    Acting Things

    “I want to use art as a field where I can explore parallel scenarios.” Dora Budor makes complex sculptures and interactive installations inspired by cinematic metaverse and scientific research. Join us as we visit the young Croatian artist in her studio.

  • Ian Cheng

    A Portal to Infinity

    Watch Ian Cheng, a rising star on the art scene, talk about his trilogy of animated live simulation works – ‘Emissaries’ – which work like a never-ending video game in real time: “It was a process that was on-going as life is on-going.”

  • Yona Friedman

    Advice to the Young

    What piece of advice would a renowned 94-year-old architect offer young architects? Find out in this short video, where Yona Friedman argues that architects must always adapt to the context and work for the average user.

  • Jan Gehl

    How to Build a Good City

    “We now know that first, we form the cities, but then the cities form us.” Meet the 81-year-old Danish architect Jan Gehl, who for more than fifty years has focused on improving the quality of urban life by helping people “re-conquer the city.”

  • Marina Abramović & Ulay

    A Living Door of the Museum

    Standing naked in the main entrance of a museum, facing each other while the audience passes sideways through the small space. Legendary performance artists Marina Abramović and Ulay share the story behind their poetic work ‘Imponderabilia’.

  • Bill Viola

    Cameras are Soul Keepers

    When video artist Bill Viola was 6 years old he fell into a lake, all the way to the bottom, to a place which seemed like paradise. "There's more than just the surface of life." Viola explains. "The real things are under the surface".

  • Wang Shu

    Architecture is a Job for God

    The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him prestigious awards. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

  • Margrethe Odgaard

    Colour Diary of New York

    Becoming more aware of your surroundings can “open a new dimension inside as well as outside yourself.” Meet award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard who has trained herself to register the world through colours.